German unions call for healthy lunchtime siestas


Ruby Russell
The Guardian
July 17, 2011

Angela Merkel might be calling the southern Europeans lazy these days. But German union leaders are calling for their compatriots to emulate them in at least one way: by taking siestas.

The DGB confederation of trade unions argues that a short, lunchtime power nap makes sense for health and performance reasons. “Even though the siesta is something that isn’t a given anymore in the southern European countries, it is still a good idea for health reasons,” said Annelie Buntenbach, a DGB executive board member. “A short afternoon nap reduces the risk of, for example, a heart attack, and provides an energy boost,” she told Tageszeitung in an interview.

Studies bear this out. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School in Greece found that Greek workers who took regular siestas had 37% lower mortality rates from coronary illnesses than their napless counterparts.

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